Monday, January 24, 2011

App Update

It's been another month, and it's time for an app update! Here are the apps we're using on our iTouches and the ways we're using them:

8th Grade Social Studies (American History)

Puppet Pals ($.99) allows users to create and record animations in a snap. It can be used for a huge variety of curriculum. Our 8th grade social studies teachers are using it. The students will create animations where one character interviews another character (in this case, a famous reformer from the Progressive Era). It's great because it's so simple! Students hit record, then move the characters around on the screen and speak into the little headset microphone. The app records their actions and voices, and saves the animation in a movie file for easy playback. It is a little bit easier on the iPad with the bigger screen than the iTouch, but it should work. We also sprung for the "Director's Pack" - an in app purchase ($3.99) that adds a host of new characters and backgrounds to animate.

8th Grade English

"The Poetry Foundation" app (Free). We're using it for a poetry scavanger hunt. Hundreds of class and contemporary poets can be browsed in a "slot machine" type format. Pick a theme a the top - like "passion," "enthusiasm," and "optimism" and match it with a subject - like "nature," "youth" or "family" to find poems that match your mood. For example, selecting "passion" and "nature" returns 11 poems, including A boat beneath a sunny sky, When I was fair and young, and I saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing.

  • Poetry Everywhere app (Free). More scavenger hunting. This app from PBS features videos of famous, modern poets reading their work aloud.
  • America Poetry app ($.99). Another scavenger hunt app. It contains a database of American poetry organized by poet.
  • Poem Flow app (Free). Scavenger hunt. The app shows poems in animated lines of text.
9th Grade English

  • Romeo & Juliet 2.0 app ($.99). We'll be using it for their Romeo and Juliet unit. It's a parallel translation of the play. It also has a great "theme tracker" feature that shows when the plays' various themes are at work in the text.
Romeo and Juliet Audiobook app ($.99). Another one for the Romeo and Juliet unit. This is just a simple audiobook version of the text, but it does the job.

Special Education - Life Skills Classes

  • Produce Guide ($1.99). The life skills class started a unit on vegetables. Their reading level is low, and it's almost IMPOSSIBLE to find good web information about vegetables written at an appropriate level. The answer? An app! This app is the perfect reference guide for fruits and vegetables. The list is organized alphabetically with both words and photos of every entry. When you select a fruit or veg, it provides a description, tips on eating a story, nutrition facts, and information on seasonality. It's very brief and straight to the point -- perfect for these learners!
  • Fruits and Veggies Memory Game ($.99). A simple memory type game. Flip the cards over and try to match the vegetables. Can choose from three levels - a great way to differentiate "reward" activities based on ability level.

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